16 Leaders on Winning Brand Experiences

October 23, 2017

Exceptional Experiences

Editor's Note: This post was authored by Siegel+Gale Chief Marketing Officer Margaret Molloy.

The digital era and rise of social media have catalyzed a shift—branding has evolved from words and pictures to experiences. Gone are the days when companies could broadcast an untouchable, proprietary brand story to the world. The most successful brands of today are those that are integrated in indispensable ways—they’re the brands that establish themselves as intensely relevant to their customers’ lives with winning brand experiences.

What’s the key to creating these brand experiences? I engaged fellow leaders on the topic. Here are insights from our conversations.

Reduce friction

“At Google we have to think overtly about simplicity every step of the way. We think a lot about how to reduce friction and pain for users. All the complexity can be behind the scenes, but the user experience should be simple. We need to get people what they’re looking for fast, and simplicity is a core part of that promise.”

- Lorraine Twohill, CMO, Google. Click here for the complete conversation.

Know your customer

“By being simple, transparent and easy to do business with, we earn our customers’ trust. By knowing and understanding our customers better, we turn insight into actionable possibilities.”

- Ronan Dunne, EVP and Group President, Verizon Wireless. Click here for the complete conversation.

Be easy to interact with

“Our customers are living in a world where brand experience and simplicity matters. Making it easy for our customers to interact with us, buy from us and be serviced by us is of paramount importance.”

- Linda Boff, CMO, GE. Click here for the complete conversation.

Show your customer that you care

“Your customers lead busy lives and carry anxiety with them throughout their day. So you should strive to give your customer the feeling that you know and care about them.”

- Seth Farbman, CMO, Spotify. Click here for the complete conversation.

Stick with a message or two that resonates

“In a world of practically infinite stimuli, you need to find a message or two that resonates with consumers and connect with them on that.”

- Liza Landsman, President, Jet.com. Click here for the complete conversation.

Be authentic

“In today’s marketplace, authenticity is extremely valuable. If you understand who you are and speak with a credible voice, your authenticity leads to trust. And that trust serves as the foundation of a strong relationship with your friends, fans, followers and constituents.”

- Evan Greene, CMO, The Recording Academy. Click here for the complete conversation.

Understand what your customer wants and why they want it

“Executives often assume they know what their customer wants without really listening. In order to truly understand what your customer wants from your company, you must understand both what they want and why they want it. Otherwise, you risk oversimplifying.” 

- Sheryl Adkins-Green, CMO at Mary Kay, Inc. Click here for the complete conversation.

Make your work accessible with good storytelling

“Externally, simplicity equals relevance. It’s putting a face on the work and making it relevant to consumers. To make our work accessible and engaging, we have to use good storytelling, which requires simple communications.”

- Geof Rochester, Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy. Click here for the complete conversation.

Have a common view of the customer

“An organization needs, at the very least, a common view of the customer in order to meet and anticipate customer needs.”

- Deirdre Bigley, CMO, Bloomberg. Click here for the complete conversation.

Solve for customer pain points

“We launched our brand amid the great recession seven years ago. When we launched, we said the world doesn’t need another bank, it needs a better bank. Our ongoing promise is to solve for customer pain points.”

- Andrea Riley, CMO, Ally Financial. Click here for the complete conversation.

Avoid chasing the bright shiny object 

“No one wants to be the company that got left behind. When there’s so much innovation happening, to stick with something that’s working is a risk. Because of that, it’s hard for people to avoid chasing the bright shiny object. It’s that tension—making sure you’re moving the brand forward but not at a pace that creates confusion for customers.”

- Sumaiya Balbale, VP of Marketing, Jet.com. Click here for the complete conversation.

Observe customers 

“Creating simple customer experiences starts with understanding the experience the customer has when they engage with us and our products. I’m a big proponent of not just doing quantitative research, but getting out in the field, observing customers and then creating experiences based on our observations.”

- Elaine Leavenworth, SVP, Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer, Abbott. Click here for the complete conversation.

Make it easy for customers to navigate your offerings

“Healthcare is extremely complicated, and delivering great care is not easy. It is important to design the experience so the average consumer understands how to navigate your offerings and get what they need.”

- Nick Ragone, SVP - Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Ascension. Click here for the complete conversation.

Focus on empathy

“Customer-centricity is easy to say and much harder to do. You need to put in place teams that focus on empathy…Simplicity means starting with the customer’s point of view, focusing on what they are trying to accomplish, and then building a solution to help them accomplish that as easily as possible.”

- Eduardo Conrado, EVP, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Motorola Solutions. Click here for the complete conversation.

Don’t require too much customer attention

“Easy means the experience doesn’t require the customer to think very much. Attention is limited. Brands shouldn’t expect to be able to take much of their customers’ attention.”

- Lawrence Brenninkmeyer, Director of Strategy and Innovation, Cofra Holding Ltd. Click here for the complete conversation.

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